wellness

Can we please talk about the embarrassing things we've all done on Instagram post-breakup.

December is a time of celebrations and champagne… However, statistically, it’s also the most popular month of the year for breakups. 

There are probably several reasons for this. Perhaps the fast-approaching new year brings with it a need for reflection and assessment. Perhaps the time spent with your significant other (and family) adds a lot of pressure. Perhaps you realise you don't want to take them home to your family at all.

There’s no way to determine the cause of this mass of individual heartbreaks, but I happen to have survived a brutal December dumping and lived to tell the tale. I sobbed at Christmas dinner, I spent Christmas Eve in my room crying into the pages of Marian Keyes, and... I let it out on social media. 

I really, really, embraced the Instagram story.

Listen to The Undone, hosted by Lucy Neville and Emily Vernem. Post continues after audio.


It’s hard to explain what heartbreak feels like, but I needed everyone to know that my heart had been ripped out of me. At the same time, I wanted my ex to be watching and for him to realise he’d made a huge mistake.

It was a couple of years ago now and I thought I was pretty subtle in my devastated desperation. But it seems my memory has been protecting me from the truth.

When I went into my Instagram archive, I was met with a sobering amount of embarrassment, and honestly I just wish someone had snatched that phone out of my soggy (from mopping up tears) hands.

Anyone who has been through a breakup is guilty of some kind of social media tomfoolery (see pictured: Kanye West, who recently straight up posted that God wants him and Kim back together).

Definitely wants her back. Image: Getty/Mamamia. 

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But there are some pretty clear signs that someone is trying to let their followers (and their ex) know that they’re heartbroken.

Ideally, we would all just issue a notes-app press release stating the one-sided facts and asking for privacy during this time, but that feels a little indulgent if you’re a regular person. 

So let me take you on a journey through my post-breakup social media behaviour. 

On the day of the break up I posted a quote.

Not just any quote. 

A quote about heartbreak by none other than Rupi Kaur, accompanied by a tasteful black and white illustration. I wanted him to see it, realise that he’d ripped my heart out and come running back to say it was all a mistake. Obviously (and thankfully) that didn’t happen, but other people caught on and slid into my DMs to assess the damage. 

Of course. Image: Supplied. 

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Next, THIS:

 WHY. Image: Supplied. 

Like… babe, we get it.

I posted photos of thoughtful gifts and gestures from friends, tagging them with something like: ‘don’t know what I’d do without you’. 

Then I posted a photo of a coffee machine, a post that NO ONE would understand except for my ex. When he left, he took the coffee machine because he paid for it - fair enough, but it meant I was left sad AND withdrawing from caffeine.

So Emily, my wonderful housemate at the time and co-host of The Undone, bought the exact same coffee machine, and I posted it to send a message along the lines of: I don’t need you anymore. 

I’m sure he was… shattered, right? But damn that's some boring content for the rest of my followers. 

So... pointed. Image: Supplied. 

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Here comes potentially the worst story that I posted. I went on to Canva, selected a Christmas template… and I created this:

So creative. Image: Supplied. 

I was not merry, not one bit. And I wanted everyone else to know that and validate my feelings.

This stack of books was up next and, holy sh*t if this isn't a pile of books that radiates break up energy. 

Subtle. Image: Supplied. 

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My friends then started getting me out of the house. I had the energy for a couple of drinks and a few moments of socialisation, but the minute I got a little bit tipsy tears arrived and it was time to go home. 

But was I going to post that on Instagram? Not a chance. He’s watching - I needed to look unattached and unaffected. So the photos were mostly just great selfies and sexier-than-usual outfits. 

The worst part about being dumped in December is that you not only have to survive Christmas, but New Year's Eve too. 

I wanted to be far, far away from my life when 2020 rolled on in. I knew it’d end in tears. So I booked into a health retreat which, to be fair, was one of the best things I did in my breakup. The content I posted while I was there though? Yikes.

Look! It’s me! A new, enlightened woman. 

So enlightened. Image: Supplied. 

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The plan was to put my phone away for the duration of my stay and go off the grid, but that was never going to happen. I broke my digital fast with…. whatever this is.  

LOL. Image: Supplied. 

And then this. I just… I can’t. 

Cool. Image: Supplied. 

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I posted a couple of quotes by the Dalai Lama after googling ‘quotes about being heartbroken to post on social media,’ and a photo of me in a sports bra that said ‘In 2020, we come in peace and we go in peace’. SURE.

If anyone had any doubt left in their mind that I was a freshly heartbroken woman, when I returned home I exhibited absolute confirmation of my dumping: fresh hair. 

Specifically, fresh blonde hair. 

When you get dumped, you call the hairdresser immediately, you clear your schedule and you transfer hundreds of dollars from your savings account to your spending account. Because you're a new person now and you no longer identify with the ‘old’ you. 

Image: Supplied. 

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From then on, my heart really had started healing, and I was finding my feet as a single woman for the first time in my adult life. 

It was thirst trap central, with a side of absolutely no shame. I needed to attract new suitors and show them my hair in person, and I did just that. 

By this stage I’d also blocked my ex on social media and that played a massive part in not only putting an end to this series of quotes and yoga poses (?), but it meant that I wasn’t performing for him anymore. I wasn’t looking for his name to check if he’d seen my story. I wasn’t posting something to solicit a response. It was a critical part of my recovery. 

Watch Mamamia Confessions: The worst excuses we've used for a breakup.


Video via Mamamia.

If you’re spending ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ carrying around a heavy heart - I get it. It's a specific kind of sh*t to have to cancel all of your Christmas plans in order to cry in your bedroom and spend your annual leave as a shell of yourself. 

As much as I’m looking back at this Instagram behaviour and cringing, I also have a lot of empathy for myself as a heartbroken woman. It’s all I could manage to do in order to communicate my sadness, and I wouldn’t change it. 

But I will laugh at it. Forever. 

You can follow Lucy Neville on Instagram and listen to her podcast with Emily Vernem, The Undone.

Feature Image: Instagram @lucymneville.

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